A recent study* of 150 female university students provides strong evidence for the impact of same gender peer mentoring on mentees’ well-being, both during their studies and after graduation. The students involved, at the University of Amherst in Massachusetts, were in their first two years of study in engineering; the mentors, both male and female, were in their third and fourth years. Women who were assigned female peer monitors:
- Felt more confident and motivated in their studies
- Were more likely to participate in an internship or continue to post-graduate study
- Were more likely to continue a career in engineering
- Maintained their level of emotional wellbeing for the duration of the course and beyond.
By contrast, women with male mentors or no mentors, showed a decline over time in all of these measures.
One of the mechanisms suggested is that female peer mentoring pairs resulted in higher levels of social networking. This is only one study, in a very specific context, but it raises interesting issues over the matching of mentoring participants.
© David Clutterbuck 2023
*Wu, DJ, Thiem, KC & Dasgupta, N (2022) Female peer mentors early in college have lasting impacts on female engineering students that persist beyond graduation, Nature Communications, published online 11 November 2022